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Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch
Biggest Twitch

With Ken gone it is back to “normal” birding, no more hanging off cliffs trying to photograph seabirds. An early morning visit to RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve this morning and a real shock with the temperature. In Llandudno it was nicely sheltered and seemed pretty mild. Down at the Conwy Estuary it was a different world with an icy east wind making it very cold. But at least it was clear and the rising sun promised warmth to come. With the tide pretty high it was anti-clock wise walk, along the estuary track first then back through the reserve proper. Despite the hand-numbing cold plenty of birds to see. A drake Red-breasted Merganser swam on the icy waters and a brave Willow Warbler sang from the scrub near the entrance gate. In the trees on the far side of the river Grey Herons were busy building their untidy nests. Further along the estuary track Eurasian Wigeon and Teal and a pair of Gadwall fed on the incoming tide.
At the Benarth hide, overlooking the lagoons, two lovely Avocets were investigating one of the islands. Will they settle down and nest? Wonderful if they did! Three Little Grebes were diving close to the hide and three Common Snipe were showing off in the channel to the left. Further along the estuary track Curlew, Oystercatcher and Redshank were on the last patch of saltmarsh to be flooded by the rising tide. A single Greenshank fed in the shallows beyond, moulting into breeding dress.
Leaving the estuary and turning inland Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and a single Blackcap all sang from the scrub alongside the railway. Less welcome was the sight of Mink walking the track, could be a real threat to breeding wildfowl and waders. Mink are not native to the UK and can be a real problem if they get established.
From the Carneddau hide a Little Egret was crouched behind a reedbed keeping out of the chill wind. Surprisingly a House Martin and a Sand Martin were flying over the lagoon, no doubt finding it hard to find insects in this cold air. A pair of Great Crested Grebes floated about showing no signs of displaying or nest building; they probably think it is back to winter.
Near the Tal-y-fan hide a Lesser Redpoll flew low overhead, going north. At the hide all five Avocets could be seen feeding in the shallow waters. What a marvellous sight, seeing Avocets here on the local patch. I had to travel to Minsmere RSPB reserve in Suffolk when I was a boy to see my first Avocets; I never dreamed I would ever see any here at Conwy. Black-tailed Godwits and a fine drake Shoveler added to the scene.
Fifty-eight species recorded in a single circuit of the reserve, pretty good!
Would you like to go birding with Alan? See below for details….We are giving a talk on The Biggest Twitch at RSPB Conwy on 16th April at 7pm, again a donation to the reserve will be made, do come along and hear all about our adventure and support this great reserve. Tickets available at the reserve, 01492 584091 for details.Would you like to come birding with The Biggest Twitch? Well now you can!
We are putting together a package of birding tours here in the UK, Europe and further a field using our huge experience to share our enthusiasm for birds, wildlife and wild places with you. We offer custom tours throughout the year in North Wales, day trips or longer to see all the special birds, dates to suit you. Highlights could include Red-billed Chough, Black and Red Grouse, Dipper, Red Kite, Hen Harrier, Goshawk, Atlantic Puffin, Ring Ouzel.  Expect to see over 100 species on a two-day tour!We are offering the following trips as set departure tours:Galapagos Islands and Ecuador: April 2010 – there’s been a lot of interest already!
India, Tigers and the north: November 2010We offer custom tours to the following countries with dates to suit you for an individual tour, or you can join a group of like-minded people:Spain, visiting Extremadura and/or the Coto de Doñana
Eastern Turkey for wonderful birds and mountain scenery
Finland and Norway with the very best guides for all the owls and woodpeckersIf you would like more details of any of these, please email us at  We would love you to join us for wonderful birds and much more!


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